Saturday, 23 September, 2023

Israel troops kill two Palestinians in West Bank

AQBAT JABR CAMP: Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, in the first deadly raid in the Jericho area for months, reports AFP.

There has been a surge in violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in recent months, marked by raids by Israeli forces as well as deadly attacks by Palestinians and Israelis.

The Palestinian health ministry announced two people were shot in the chest at dawn by Israeli forces "during an attack on Jericho". The ministry named those killed as Qusay Omar Suleiman al-Walaji,      16, and Mohammed Ribhi Njoom, 25.

The Israeli military said during the raid "suspects fired toward the Israel Border Police, who responded with live fire. Hits were identified."

The army did not detail the purpose of the incursion when contacted by AFP.

Nasser al-Anani, director of Jericho's public hospital, said the two killed suffered "wounds right in the heart with explosive bullets".

Two other wounded people were admitted to the hospital, he told AFP.

It was the first deadly raid since May 1 on Jericho, an ancient city in the Jordan Valley which lies near the Dead Sea.

Omar al-Walaji, the father of the teenager killed, said his son used to ride his motorcycle to any clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

"He used to work with me at the greengrocer's and he moved around a lot, I didn't know about his martyrdom until they called me from the hospital and I went there," he told AFP, giving his son's age as 17.

Dozens of Palestinian mourners gathered at the family home in Jericho.

Ribhi Njoom, whose family lives in the adjacent Aqbat Jabr camp where the raid took place, told AFP he did not know how his son came to be fatally shot.

"Every time the occupation (Israeli) army enters the camp, young people gather and throw stones at the army," he said.

Israel has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.

Excluding annexed east Jerusalem, the territory is home to around three million Palestinians and around 490,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.

The Jericho raid brings to 216 the number of Palestinians killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict so far this year.

Some 28 Israelis, one Ukrainian and one Italian have also been killed, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources on both sides.

They include, on the Palestinian side, combatants as well as civilians and, on the Israeli side, three members of the Arab minority.